Faced with the grim reality of Obamacare, President Obama apologized that millions of Americans are losing coverage because of his law, which was supposed to make health insurance available and affordable.
Sadly, this is not the last apology the President will need to make about his health care law. Although not comprehensive, here are three more apologies on the horizon.
1. “I’m sorry that the cost of coverage — premiums, deductibles, and copayments — is going up for millions of Americans.”
It’s bad enough that people are getting their policies canceled, but it is downright scary when they find out that what’s offered on the exchange is far more expensive.
Before Obamacare, Natalie Willes, a young woman in Los Angles, paid $199 a month; with Obamacare, it increases to $278 a month. Add a deductible of $6,500 and suddenly, a currently insured Natalie wonders if she will be able to afford to stay insured.
As research by Heritage scholar Drew Gonshorowski shows, under Obamacare, the cost of coverage offered in exchanges has increased in 42 states. Hardest hit will be those who fall into the gully of earning too much to qualify for subsidies, but are far from able to afford the family plan — averaging $16,000 in 2013 — they may be mandated to carry.
Yes, at some point, Obama will have to apologize because the Affordable Care Act has made coverage less affordable.
2. “I’m sorry that people are finding less choice in types of coverage — instead of more — when they shop on the exchanges.”
Obamacare’s regulations dictate your plan design. It prescribes the “essential benefits” insurance plans must offer and puts them in four buckets: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. The result is a “government knows best” model. The problem is, it doesn’t.
Are you a 60-year-old woman? Your policy must contain maternity and pediatric services. Are you an empty nester with no addiction history or risk? Your policy must contain addiction screening and treatment services. These federal mandates come on top of whatever mandates your state requires, ranging from infertility treatment to bariatric surgery.
The result is predictable. Not everyone wants a Cadillac priced up with options irrelevant to their life. As more people are pushed into exchanges, we can expect to hear their angry objections, and another apology will be owed to the American people.
3. “I’m sorry that young people have gotten a double whammy from this law: They are paying more for coverage and they will carry the tax burden of paying for all of Obamacare.”
In order for the new health exchanges to work, a whole bunch of young people have to sign up to subsidize the older, sicker populations.
There is one problem: All the benefit mandates and rules required of all plans are resulting in dramatic increases in premium prices, specifically for young adults.
One state where rates in the exchange have soared for young people is Vermont, “where the increase for 27-year-olds is 144 percent and the increase for 50-year-olds is still 60 percent,” Gonshorowski writes.
Anytime Congress wants to create a new and costly federal program, it should consider who will bear the burden of paying the bill. Obamacare is an “entitlement,” meaning there is no precise annual budget because the law pledges to pay for anyone who qualifies, regardless of the state of the U.S. balance sheet.
With the United States $17 trillion in debt, future generations are already shouldering the out-of-control federal spending of today. Now, they are signed up to buy insurance they can’t afford — with a paycheck that will have more taken out by Uncle Sam.
For a generation that is already seeing less economic opportunity and more barriers to achieving the American Dream, this is a double whammy.
For those impacted by Obamacare, “Sorry” from the President won’t cut it.
Sadly, it doesn’t need to be this way. There are good solutions to help the 15 percent of uninsured Americans without messing up the coverage enjoyed by the other 85 percent.
Instead of pushing competition and choice out of the health care system and replacing it with federal command and control, Obamacare should be scrapped and patient-centered solutions should be put in its place.